Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2004

Dated: 10 Jun 2006

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Blair’s terror laws let police off the leash

Over 250 police marshalled for a raid by armed officers, an air exclusion zone banning aircraft from flying below 6,000 feet over the area, a man shot by police, a barrage of planted media lies, the terrorising of a whole community – all that took place in east London last week.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Is knife crime out of control in Britain?

Knife crime is big news following a number of high profile stabbings over the past month. Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair has called for mandatory sentences for anyone found in possession of a knife.

Ernesto Leal is free – but still fighting to stay in Britain

Ernesto Leal, a Chilean threatened with deportation, was released on bail on 2 June. The home office wants to deport him even though he holds a British passport and has been granted indefinite leave to remain in Britain.

Help health workers stop the sell off of NHS Logistics

"Keep our NHS Logistics public" is the message our branch has sent to the government and the new undersecretary for health Andy Burnham.

Preparing for a national post ballot

Preparations were continuing this week for a national strike ballot in Royal Mail over the imposed pay deal, threats to pensions, attacks on the union and other matters.

Nottingham city transport bus workers

Nottingham city transport bus drivers struck for a second consecutive Saturday last week.

Durham and Teesside bus workers

Bus workers in County Durham and Teesside launched a series of 24-hour strikes on Monday at the Arriva company.

Reports round-up

HP Sauce workers: no outsourcing Up to 500 people marched through Aston in Birmingham last Saturday to save the 125 jobs at the local HP Sauce plant. The jobs are due to be transferred to Holland following a take-over by Heinz.

Climate change conference: debating how we can save the world

The Campaign Against Climate Change’s second annual conference last Saturday was a resounding success. Some 350 people attended a day of meetings and discussion about climate change and what we can do about it.

Burnley and the BNP

Almost five years have passed since Asian and white youths clashed in Burnley, the streets of the Lancashire town ablaze with racial tension. A new report was released last week assessing how far the town has come since then.

Cardiff activists stage ‘die-in’

Anti-war campaigners in Cardiff staged a "die-in" last Saturday to protest against sending young men and women to fight in Iraq.

Unison mulls pensions deal

The Unison union’s local government service group executive was meeting this week to consider key issues in the fight over pensions.

Respect demands explanation over shooting

‘We are asking simple questions. Like how long does it take to search a small house? How was it that someone was shot during the raid? The longer the police spend in the house the more people’s doubts will grow about the intelligence upon which the raid was based.

Mikey Powell trial

Mikey Powell died on 7 September 2003 after being struck by a police car, hit with a baton and sprayed with CS gas in the Lozells area of Birmingham.

Union members shocked at arrest of fellow worker

Mohammed Abdul Kahar, who was shot by police in the raid, is a postal worker in the distribution section at the Whitechapel office.

Muhammad Abdul Bari: ‘Muslims feel they are under attack’

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari was elected as the new secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain last weekend.

‘Evidence’ gathering through informers will lead to more injustice

The police say that an MI5 informer claimed that Mohammed Abdul Kahar and his brother Abul Koyair were storing a bomb at their home in east London.

Herts firefighters stand up to management threats

Firefighters in the FBU union in Hertfordshire staged their third eight hour strike on Wednesday of last week against plans by the county fire authority to slash the fire service by closing down two stations and axing 50 frontline jobs.

Charting a course towards a fightback in the PCS

PCS and Prospect union members at the Ordnance Survey (OS) mapmakers are being balloted on industrial action as frustration mounts at the lack of a fair pay deal which is already ten months late.

Rail workers' round-up

Pensions campaign Workers in the RMT and TSSA rail unions were discussing the next stage of their pensions campaign this week after a ballot result, due as Socialist Worker went to press.

Success for strikers against bosses’ lockout

More than 100 locked out workers have won a great victory after protesting at a building site at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel terminal being built near Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.

Office for National Statistics

Thousands of members of the PCS and Prospect civil service workers’ union in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are balloting for strike action over job cuts and relocations.

Land Registry

Workers in the Land Registry are discussing taking strike action to defend their jobs after management last week announced plans to merge or close a number of offices.


Left unity members won the recent PCS union group executive elections in the Department for Work and Pensions. Socialist Worker supporter Dave Owens was elected.

Car workers

Workers at Peugeot’s Ryton plant have voted not to take strike action to defend the plant. In April Peugeot announced plans to close the Coventry plant, with the direct loss of 2,300 jobs and the threat of up to 6,000 jobs in the area.

Public services lobby

A joint union campaign against privatisation and for public services will be carried forward at a rally and lobby of parliament on Tuesday 27 June.

Respect for unions

Respect has called a trade union conference for Saturday 11 November.


A strike ballot in supermarket chain Asda’s 20 distribution depots across Britain is underway. Ballot papers were issued this week and the union expects to announce the result in the week beginning 19 June.

Make or break for lecturers' dispute

As Socialist Worker went to press there were signs that university employers were about to offer lecturers a "new" pay deal of 13.12 percent over three years.

Lecturer's round-up

The lecturers’ strike has seen a growth in organisation on the ground. Here are some recent examples of the mood around Britain.

Newham residents plan protest over police raids

A march is planned this Sunday to protest over the police raid on a house in Forest Gate, east London. The protest, set to begin at 2.30pm outside Forest Gate police station, on Romford Road, was announced at a packed 150-strong meeting hosted by Respect on Tuesday of this week.

Forest Gate protest demo moved

The protest against the heavy handed police raid and shooting in Forest Gate is no longer to be held Forest Gate police station.


The MST, Brazil and the struggle for land

LS: Recent years have seen an explosion of struggles in Latin America. Alongside workers and the urban poor, rural movements have played a key role. Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, MST) is the largest and most successful of these, organising a series of dramatic land occupations. What has the MST achieved through these struggles?

Chile – fighting for a new kind of education

Some 800,000 school students struck in Chile on Wednesday of last week. Over 100 schools have been occupied and demonstrators have clashed with the police. Universities are on strike in solidarity and news programmes interview the school students’ leaders every day.

Brazil’s left unites behind candidate

The Brazilian left will enter October’s presidential election united after the far left PSTU and the Communist Party agreed to join an electoral alliance with the new radical Party of Socialism and Liberty, P-Sol.


Shirin Ebadi: fighting for democracy in Iran and against invasion

We are aware of the problems of Iran, but the way to solve these is not by resorting to war.

World economy’s balancing act

"Market volatility". This is the conventional description of the period of intense turbulence that financial markets have been going through these past few weeks. The main stock markets saw share prices fall sharply, though these subsequently recovered most of what had been lost.


Crisis for George Bush: what will happen if the US is forced out of Iraq?

We are reaching a turning point in history. The US is caught in a military stalemate in Iraq and most Americans have turned against the war. The prospect is now opening up that the US may be forced to leave Iraq. And such a political humiliation would have enormous consequences across the world.

Ken Loach on The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Even though Ken Loach’s new film The Wind That Shakes The Barley hasn’t yet opened in cinemas, it has already won a high profile award and created controversy. Ken Loach is on a high after winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Some elements of the British media have insinuated it was just a fluke, or that he won as a kind of "lifetime achievement award".

Ken Loach speaks at film showing for call centre workers

Ken Loach arrived back in Britain last week to address a meeting of call centre workers who are part of a union drive. It is difficult to imagine any other film director who had just won the Palme d’Or going to a talk to workers about unionisation.

Gary Younge on racism

Read our monthly supplement, featuring an interview with journalist Gary Younge on the battle for equality in Britain and the US. Jacob Middleton takes on the slurs that Respect is a 'communalist' party, while Dave Crouch looks at how the Communist Party organised in the East End Jewish community during the 1930s. Also we interview Steven Rose about Darwinism and Stephen Jay Gould, there are Third World Reports on Western Sahara, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Egypt, and much more


Offside: a sideways glimpse at the Iranian regime

Iran will continue to feature in newspaper headlines this month – for two reasons. The first is the stance taken by the US and Britain over Iran’s nuclear programme. The other is that Iran is taking part in the football world cup, which starts this week in Germany.

Reviews round-up

John Constable: The Great Landscapes Tate Britain, London SW1, to 28 August John Constable (1776-1837) sold just 20 paintings in his lifetime – but then he became too popular. Constant reproduction reduced works such as The Hay Wain to chocolate box cliches and saddled Constable with an undeserved reputation as a pastoral sentimentalist.

What We Think

Brown backs bosses as Barber goes bonkers

Many people think that putting Gordon Brown into 10 Downing Street would herald a return to Old Labour policies. They might be right. In the 1960s and 1970s, Labour presided over a host of pay freezes and incomes policy initiatives. These led to a drop in living standards for workers, especially the lowest paid.

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Who says?

"It would appear that if Che was alive, he would be barred from his own exhibition."Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, on being banned from the opening of the V&A’s Che Guevara exhibition

Marxism 2006: A festival of resistance

For five days thousands will gather at this political festival to celebrate the global movement against war and injustice.

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